Taking 60 seconds a day to make it a better one

Archive for the month “August, 2011”

Being the exception to the rule


I’m a big fan of Seth. I can call him by his first name because I don’t know him, and he’s not likely ever to know me.  So Mr. Godin, or Seth Godin, seems a bit much.

I completely dig his short, sweet and oftentimes, provocative posts.

Today he wrote a post that made me think of… well, my blog.

Mostly, the best way to be the next Mark Zuckerberg is to make difficult choices.

His main point was to explain that it’s easy for us to look at the creator of Facebook and think he is the one magical “freak of nature” for whom the normal rules of nature don’t apply.


Right now there’s another freak working away at something that will make Facebook feel so “’90’s” — and then we’ll all oogle and ahhh and wonder “How lucky she is.”

Chrissie Wellington was that very girl in 2007.  She took her first ironman (140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running in one day) crown and less than 2 months later, won decidely the World Ironman Championships in Hawaii. Nobody even knew her. Media, athletes, you name it. Nobody. She didn’t know anybody either. ‘Course she’s talented. Yes she’s built for this stuff. But she also has made a million difficult choices along her path to winning every single irondistance event she’s ever entered (including 3 World Championships in a row and 4 world records).

Chrissie kickin another record off the books

Chrissie Wellington.  Mark Zuckerberg.  Same, but different.

What 60 second choices are you making on your journey to greatness?



When laughing it off doesn’t work

There are many moments when laughter is the best medicine. Even in the most serious of situations; laying next to a family member who lies motionless in a coma, humor can relieve emotional pain and anguish, if not just for a moment. There are even studies showing the positive, physiological effect laughter has on us in such instances. (I write from experience, and I speak not only for me, but for the family member in the coma who says it was much appreciated)

When it doesn’t work is when you’re visiting with a doc, discussing a cancerous growth [& impending surgical procedure] on your skin.  When the docs mumble a few doctor-speak words to each other and then, after you joke about wanting to be part of the conversation, they laugh, touch you on the shoulder, and then walk, collectively, out of the room with no response, is when laughter has a more deleterious affect.

There’s a time and a place for laughter – the pee in your pants kind, and the courtesy chortle. I’d argue that both are still pretty darn good — if they are shared.

 The funny thing is, people don’t always consider whether their audience, in a coma or not, appreciates the laughter-inducing humor. 

5th grade playgrounds around the world would change forever.

“Getting out of your body’s way”

As a young Scottish lass, Lesley Paterson took on rugby with the boys in the morning, and danced with the girls in tutus by the afternoon.

She also raced at the elite level with the British and Scottish triathlon teams, traveling the world and meeting new people while pushing herself to the  limits.

After leaving the sport, and traveling to the US with husband Si Marshall, she talks of how she still sought out ways to fulfill her dual-loves of sport and creativity,

Always having been a creative little thing (I got my BA degree in Drama), I decided to do my Masters degree in Theater”, I flourished under my new found career path and began climbing my next impossible ladder to success: Hollywood.  I started acting in student films and then independent films (so far I have 17 of them under my belt), until I met my now writing-producing partner Ian Stokell. Together we formed our own production company called Sliding Down Rainbows Entertainment Inc., and we have since produced several short films and our first feature film: http://www.interglacialromance.com. More recently we acquired the rights to the WW1 novel All Quiet on the Western Front, and have written an amazing script…”  —

which has since landed a director and a key lead actor.

Her love of sport, and triathlon in particular, has resurfaced and over the last few years of hard work and discipline, she’s moved into the World Championship ranks of Xterra Triathlon and firmly planted herself as one of the best, on or off-road.  This while she coaches a full roster of athletes and manages her production company.

The power of the brain to support, or derail, the body in personal quests of courage, (physical or not), is something we can afford to pay more attention to — in sport or otherwise.  In her and her husband’s words:  

How do you “help train your mind to get out of your body’s way during endurance events?”

What, in your life, is the endurance event?

Time to fly

It’s my 11th wedding anniversay today.

surprise plans were made. secrets kept. anticipation built. hair appts scheduled.

then i find out the Se Hotel didn’t have the special SUPER LOVE package i’d reserved weeks ago ready for us.

and, they were happy to help me but I’d have to pay another $150 for that kind of happiness.

more than 60 minutes of sadness and frustration ensued.  and a few ugly words not anywhere in the dictionary. then a nasty Yelp review.

after a short but sweaty workout, food solved the problem for awhile – a delectable mix of rosemary infused cubes of organic yams, red baby potatoes and turnips thrown around with some quinoa. Scrumptious moment of bliss.

hubby tried to make it all better.  and that just backfired.

Then the arrival.  The UPS man.  God bless him.

"Run-on-Marshmallow shoes"

Yep.  I said no to the heels (see Aug 10 post) and yes to the runners. I figure doing 26 miles in these babies will bring me a degree of happiness closer than 26 miles (even if broken up) in those heels.

60 seconds, and just like that, my day has turned. 

Now, I have to fix my grumpo-attitude with the hubby.

Onward and upward.

Why does it have to be “either” or “Or”?

It’s one of the most debilitating questions when starting a new eating plan; aka starvation program.

“Should I have the salad or the lava cake?”

It happens for athletes taking on a new schedule in their day:

“It’s either workout at 5:00 am (and go to work dripping wet looking for the food truck) or after (which basically means post-dinner, post-kids homework, post-favorite tv program)?”

Or when we try and decide on purchasing decisions.

These…. ($170 running shoes guaranted to rid you of your  “my-legs-feel-so-tired-syndrome” into “I-feel-like-I-can-run-forever” shoes) 

or these? ($418 worth of “I’ll-walk-all-over-you-then-on-water-too” deliciousness)

Racing marathons, triathlons or any such endurance race used to be an “either” or “or” choice too. You either had to bribe someone to come help you at a race destination because it was in a pitiful or local location and nobody could be awakened at the ridonkulous hour you had to get up to be there, or you schlucked your gear and grub yourself. (You probably got good at upping the ante on the bribes)

Now, it’s getting a teensy bit easier to say, “I’m off to Hawaii for a race in 3 months, anyone want to come with?” and  the “and” part just got easier. (That being:  “And I need some help schlucking my bike to and fro….”)

Here’s a tiny 60 second example of incorporating more “and” into your day.  I’m going to stick to what I love for this — FOOD.

Krispee Treats - with a twist

I threw together this little snackeepoo today. I love chocolate and the sweet-stuff, but realize gobs of it on a regular basis will end my pursuit of good health and happiness (at least my skin/happy-with-my-body happiness). So I used agave and brown rice sugar (instead of brown sugar/white sugar) + a few tossed dark chocolate pieces in this little krispy treat mix. I used fewer tablespoons of peanut butter (and used ‘all natural, organic’ stuff) and added flax seed infested granola with almonds to the mix.

My way of adding “and”. And keeping happiness alive and well.

Onward and upward, always.

Running blind

Simon Wheatcroft is that guy. And he does it without a guide.

He has been registered blind for over a decade through the degenerative eye disorder Retinitis Pigmentosa.

And he runs ultra-distance marathons.

Simon out on a run

100 miles through steep inclines and long, steep descents?  Yep. Over trees, through thick brush, and rocky terrain? Yep.

Doing it without a guide, a dog or a…. cane? Yep.

It takes courage to start; nevermind finish.

How will you use 60 seconds today to start doing the impossible?

Onward and upward, always.

Patience takes patience

EQ (emotional intelligence) is a topic execs don’t like to talk about, [it’s too ‘soft’, ‘touchy feely’] – as if it were like a fuzzy child’s bear.

You can rebrand it however you want – make it sound sexy or hard – or both.  [and yes, this is getting to sound a bit less like a standard blog post and more like an intro to a poorly written romance novel]

My point?

It is the cornerstone of patience.

I’m a believer in patience being coddled, nurtured – essentially developed – in those of us who have a strenuous relationship with the virtue.

It’s development is one of the main reasons I kept taking on longer racing experiences in triathlon.

But the application of this virtue in the oft-cantakerous relations between PEOPLE when said humans are tired, stressed, hungry, or [fill in more reasons/excuses we use for being mean here], is really where the level of development of this virtue is exposed.

Next time you’re about to be, or ARE, in the middle of something that stretches your patience, i’d challenge you to take 60 seconds (or minutes) ask:

Do I feel like my competence is challenged? My abilities? My focus on organization, planning or….?

Do I feel like my goodwill, good intent is being challenged or undermined?

Do I feel my livelihood is being challenged?

Notice what one word (besides “do” and “I” for all the smart butts out there) reappears in these questions?

Congratulations. You’ve just confirmed we all still DO operate on our reptilian brains — which basically means, we are hard-wired to act first (on emotion) before we do anything rational (our cognitive brain).

Fight or flight baby.

Doesn’t usually have a good result when we’re trying to be patient.

Onward and upward.

A whale of a challenge

Can you imagine how fearless you would be if the challenge was exhilirating enough to help you forget why you were afraid?

What would you start doing differently?

Or if the reward – completely non-monetary and with little promise of promotion, recognition or public accolade – was bigger than you, completely outside of you?

This story broke in the San Francisco Chronicle recently and it demonstrated the power of what a few humans thought when faced with ‘saving’ an animal that’s literally hundreds of times their weight and size.

The whale, struggling under hundreds of pounds of netting, on the verge of drowning, was saved by a group of biologists and divers who literally jumped in and started cutting nets away and around her eyes, flukes and pectoral fins. DIving in with small curved knives was the group’s final decision upon realizing every other possible alternative was going to be futile.

Humpback whale with one of the divers that help free her

“She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives”

Faced with a ginormous challenge, arguably one that could mean life or death (ever wondered what it might be like to wacked by a 15-18  ft pectoral fin by the force from a frightened, drowning  45-52  ft whale?), they jumped in.  No toe-dipping there.

Small things; a walk around the block, one conversation with a work ally asking for support, a first swim across the pool, a first 5k run with friends…  it all starts with 60 seconds of saying “what if”.

Onward and upward, always.


Breathtaking. Heck sign me up then

Bay to Bay Tour 2011. 100 or 150 mile ride to support MS.

How many times do you hear people say “I was going to do that.”, when you start talking about an event you signed up for.  Okay, maybe if you’re signing up for endurance sporting events that go on for 50, 100, or 200 miles, you may not get too many people responding with such a comment….

but lately, more and more folks are becoming more interested in this ‘phenomenon’ of long-distance sporting events.  Want to run 100K through the wilderness? You can!  Want to bike across America? Sure, go for it! How about swim 7 miles, bike 350 and then throw your running shoes on and go for a 75 mile run?  Heck yeah baby! You can do that too.

Everybody started somewhere.  A 3 mile race.  A 10 mile bike ride. A swim in the pool because their knees were shot and they needed to do ANYTHING, just SOMETHING to stay fit. [And now they’re swimming the English Channel]

Mine? It’s a marathon this year. I swore I’d never run farther than 3 miles. That was 10 years ago.

And now this.  The Bay to Bay Ride.

Anything that has “breathtaking” and “views of the coast” in the ad copy — well, i’m a sucker for.

 Plus, it’s for a great cause…which means it’ll be easier for me to rope somebody into doing it with me.

It’ll take me 60 seconds to sign up.

A woman in Santa Monica was compelled to spend…

A woman in Santa Monica was compelled to spend 365 (non-consecutive) days collecting trash on her beach after visiting it often and noticing how much litter was left behind.  And she’s writing about it here.

Now, being a previous marine biologist, researcher and educator, I’ve admittedly got an incredibly soft, gooey spot in the center of my being for this woman’s plight. I’ve bore first-hand witness to hundreds of pounds of garbage, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean — in the tiny coral atoll known as the French Frigate Shoals – and seen Hawaiian Monk Seals strangle to death by the firm grip of fishing wire.  Yep, this woman’s journey, and her sense of personal responsibility in light of the gargantuan nature of the challenge, got me fired up.

She has taken it upon herself to collect litter for only 20 minutes at a time. And within only 200 feet or so between two life-guard stations.

I love peeps who see opportunity in small chunks. 

Instead of seeing something that was too big to tackle, she’s found a way to make a significant contribution to a world-class issue. (She’s picked up over 800 lbs of trash, in that one small piece of real estate)

My blog, then, is to celebrate in and inspire others to find the opportunity in the small.  Even if it only takes 60 seconds, or 60 minutes, every day.

Welcome to the journey,

Onward and upward, always.


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